It’s Opel’s answer to Volkswagen’s mad, touring car Golf: a mad, touring car Astra
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The Top Gear car review: KTM X-Bow
For:Once you’ve twigged it’s not race-car twitchy, it shows itself to be a well-sorted tool
Against:Is the handling a little too safe? Plus the base car isn't that quick
2.0 TFSi Street
What we say:
Focussed carbon-heavy track car with a turbo’d Audi engine and superlative looks. A tad soft, but that can be sorted relatively easily by adjusting the suspension
What is it?
GIven that it looks utterly mad and is totally impractical, it should really be built in Britain. Odd, then, that the KTM comes from the otherwise sensible Austrians. The 300 is crazily fast but quite comfortable too. Pack a helmet. And a scarf.
This is where the KTM gets a little devisive. Loris Binnochi (he of Pagani fame) sorted the chassis and it’s a peach - but it isn’t the most committed thing you’ll ever drive. It drops into safe understeer pretty early. Fun for the beginner, but not quite matching the super-extreme looks. Luckily, there are more hardcore X-Bows in the pipeline - they should add some spice to a great base version.
The X-Bow is a surprise for something that looks like it should be starring in the ‘Transformers’ movies - you can actually go some distance in it without crippling yourself. Obviously there’s no weather protection, so you’ve got to be a little careful with exposed body parts (ie/ your face), but properly kitted up this is an easy car to drive, if not for a long way.
Looks fast doesn’t it? Shame that in this initial version at least, it isn’t really. The 0-60mph time of 3.9 seconds is obviously impressive, but the 2.0-litre turbo is lifted from the Audi range and is in a relatively mild state of tune at 240bhp (tuners have seen a reliable 350). Saying that it’s relatively heavy at 790kg, despite all the carbon fibre. You can have a fibreglass version that costs half as much too…
On the inside
Both versions of the car are exceptionally well made - but the full carbon-tubbed monster is just breathtaking. It really does feel like your slipping on a racecar. There’s not much in the way of soft furnishings, so don’t worry too much about whether the switchgear works - there isn’t much of it.
Two seats, no luggage space, no windscreen. You’ll be wet and not have a change of clothes, but you won’t care.
The ‘base’ car is around £62k, the full carbon twice the price. Pretty good on fuel, ludicrous on insurance. This is a toy - your wallet will be forced to treat it like one.